Friday, December 30, 2022




Just a couple of hundred metres from a Hachiman Shrine adjacent to the Nanagi Fudoson Temple was the entrance to a much larger Hachiman shrine, Chirikuhachimangu. The torii, entrance gate, is in Hizen style, Hizen being the name of the former province that made Saga and Nagasaki prefectures. Also visible is the pair of Kadomatsu, the new years' decorations with bamboo centres.


A ceremony was underway when I arrived so I walked around quietly. It was Jan 5th, so not sure what ceremony it was.


The ornamentation on tye roof is now purely decorative. The cross-pieces are called chigi. If the ends are cut vertically, like here, it indicates that the main kami enshrined is male. A horizontal cut indicates female kami. The horizontal "log" pieces are called katsuogi. Both were used in early Japanese architecture to help weigh down the thatched roof.


This pair of komainu was somewhat unusual, with long, almost cylindrical bodies, not unlike others I had seen further south in Kumamoto.


Looking back from the shrine over Nagatoishi, with Kurume across the other side of the river. The shrine is in Saga, but Nagatoishi, which used to be mostly rice-paddies 50 years ago, is part of Fukuoka. The river mostly forms the boundary between the two prefectures, but the actual boundary is far more serpentine with horseshoe bends crossing over to each side of the river so that  sections of the opposite banks belong to the other  prefecture , suggesting that the river has been straightened quite dramatically in recent times.;


There are quite a few large camphor trees and numerous sub- shrines within the grounds. Hachiman shrines are the most common shrines in Japan nowadays but originally it was a north Kyushu cult that later spread to Nara and then Kyoto, then becoming so widespread after being adopted by the samurai. This shrine, however, is said to be one of a half dozen or so major hachiman shrines in north Kyushu that pre-date its national adoption.


I am curious as to the reason for the stance the horse statue is taking.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting tidbits of information. Thank you for sharing.